Research says single people have better social lives, so just leave it yeah?
Stop asking, mum
If you’re feeling left on the shelf then don’t be downhearted – single people really do have richer social lives according to new research.
Psychologists have revealed that being single can be a much more fulfilling existence both at home and at work – boosting “psychological growth and development”. Singletons now outnumber married individuals in both the UK and the US for the first time since records began.
And Dr Bella DePaulo, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, said, far from feeling lonely, many embrace their freedom. She told an American Psychological Association meeting in Denver: “The preoccupation with the perils of loneliness can obscure the profound benefits of solitude.
“It is time for a more accurate portrayal of single people and single life – one that recognises the real strengths and resilience of people who are single, and what makes their lives so meaningful.”
She cited long term studies that have shown they value meaningful work more than their hitched counterparts. They are also more connected to parents, siblings, friends, neighbours and colleagues. Dr DePaulo explained: “When people marry, they become more insular.”
Her findings revealed heightened sense of self determination and they are more likely to experience “a sense of continued growth and development as a person.” Another study of lifelong single people showed self sufficiency serves them well. The more self sufficient they were, the less likely they were to experience negative emotions. For married people, the opposite was true, according to Dr DePaulo.
There are more unmarried people than ever before in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. In 2014, there were 124.6 million unmarried Americans over age 16, meaning 50.2 percent of the nation’s adult population identified as single, according to BLS. In contrast, only 37.4 percent of the population was unmarried in 1976. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows 51 per cent of people in England and Wales are single – meaning they have overtaken those who are married for the first time.
Supposedly, according to DePaulo: “What matters is not what everyone else is doing or what other people think we should be doing, but whether we can find the places, the spaces and the people that fit who we really are and allow us to live our best lives.”
Are you living your best life though?